“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matthew 5:6)
Jesus didn’t come here with a fistful of Religion Redux; instead he exhibited and explained a whole new way of behaving that starts on the inside and shows on the outside. Any sort of “tacked on” righteousness simply will not do. We can try to hook “good works” onto our branches like ornaments on a Christmas tree, but they tend to drop off as the tree rots. Alternatively, he injects healthy sap into our roots, which courses through our branches and produces a harvest of good fruit.
Since God crucifies “self” and demotes us from frontrunner to follower, the harvest is no monument to our self-effort. “Nothing is more beautiful than righteousness and nothing is more hideous than self-righteousness.”
“Some people will be virtuous not because they love God’s will,” says Thomas Merton, “but because they want to admire their own virtues.” Yet when rooted in the blessed attitudes, righteousness can safely take place without threat of being sucked into self-aggrandizement.
This is an excerpt from a book I hope to publish in the near future on the Sermon on the Mount called: What In The World? Some Moral, Social, and Politically Disruptive Implications of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.
As such, I’d appreciate your feedback on this post and others to come in order to make the final copy publish-worthy.